KUALA LUMPUR – The six-year old DRB Hicom University (DHU) is already making
its presence felt as the world’s only university dedicated to providing a
complete range of courses in the automotive eco-system.
So far, the university has produced 1,140 graduates, including the latest
batch of 440 to receive their credentials at its 4th Convocation yesterday at
its campus in Pekan, Pahang, which hosts automotive plants of Volkswagen and
Mercedes and dubbed by the media as the Detroit of Malaysia.
DHU’s graduates had doubled from the previous year’s convocation of about
200 graduates to its largest of 440 graduates this year.
DHU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Gary James Clayton said Malaysia’s
ever-growing automotive sector is sorely in need of university trained auto
managers to run the industry and DHU is well placed to fill the management gap
over the next 10 to 15 years.
With Malaysia having the largest Total Industry Volume of new car sales
among Asean countries, the setting up of DHU is already pumping skilled managers
and supervisors into the automotive industry not just locally but also for the
Prof. Clayton said DHU currently has 24 unique programmes covering
everything in the eco-system while another 33 courses are in the process of
being approved by the Higher Education Ministry, making it as the provider of
courses from the starting up to end-user and end-user support.
Asked about job opportunities for DHU graduates, he said: “Malaysia has a
high standard of living compared with most places in Asean and therefore it’s
not surprising that it has such a big market for vehicles. That means there’s a
lot of job opportunities and there’s been a massive growth in job opportunities
in the whole vehicle eco-system.”
He said the interest in taking up courses at DHU has also been very
encouraging with student intake growing by 30 per cent last year. It now has
1,200 students in a campus that can accommodate 5,000.
Prof. Clayton said although its focus is now on local students, DHU is
moving to attract those from Asean countries, especially the ones that have
similar industry needs like Malaysia such as Thailand and Indonesia and
increasingly the Philippines and Vietnam.
He said DHU’s presence in Malaysia is giving the nation a lead position
because in any business, being number one is important for success.
“So, as the market changes and things like free market coming into existence
like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or whatever derivatives, it’s important
that Malaysia takes the lead position.”
“So, if you have the lead position in thought management and knowledge
management, then you are going to lead those industry development,” he added.
He said although most of current graduates have found jobs within the DRB
Group, the university is also focusing on catering to the future demand in the
Asean region, as well as for DRB’s competitors.
“We have a very close relationship with the whole automotive industry and
our students undergo internship throughout the industry and over 90 per cent of
our students would be offered jobs before they even graduate because of the
internship,” he said.